Our Top 5: Depressing Songs

Sorry about being a little late with this list this fortnight, we usually have top 5’s up every Saturday but with it being the Birthday weekend for the site, we just didn’t have time.

The idea of a depressing song is purely subjective. Some people are effected by music much harder than others, that’s just plain fact. However, there are a couple songs out there that hit the heart strings of any soul, trust me. This list will count down 5 of the most depressing songs that we all love to hate, or hate to love, or cry because they are so good, or cry because they are-… I think I’m off topic here. Yeah without any more jibber jabber, here are our 5 most depressing songs… Enjoy, I guess…

5. Body in a Box – City and Colour

Let’s face it, Dallas Green is one sad dude. If you were to give me a collection of ten songs from City and Colour, seven of them would be about death, two about being alone and one about what it’s like to sing about death and be alone. He’s that sad of a cookie. But it doesn’t get sadder than Body in a Box. The song is all about his own funeral, saying goodbye and all the nasty, morbid stuff that comes with death. I spent years covering this track with various groups around local venues and it always jerked the tears of many a crowd member. Although the musicality is basic on this track, lyrically the song is ever so haunting. It was difficult to listen to when I was too young to know better and it’s just as hard to listen to now. Gosh this is a sad one.

4. Tears in Heaven – Eric Clapton

To many people who don’t know the context of this track, this song is catchy and sends a nice message for loved ones. However, I’m going to hit you with something hard now. This song is all about the tragic loss of Eric Clapton’s son Conor. Not just that, but two of Clapton’s roadies also died that year as well as his manager, and also his good friend Stevie Ray Vaughan. The song is about loss, dealing with loss and coming to terms with loss (or rather how you never truly come to terms with loss). It’s heartbreaking to hear the father of a deceased child perform a track about how much it hurts, it really is. The song is technically beautiful, the lyrics masterful and touching; the song is a classic and a timeless hit.

3. Rory – Foxing

Rory isn’t conventionally sad like the prior mentioned songs, but it hits me even harder. Although the subject matter is about love and being unloved, it’s the instrumentation that I find harrowing. It’s bitter, it’s dark, it’s brooding yet it’s weak, it’s the musical embodiment of self hate. Although Foxing are known for much sadder songs than this, this track has a nostalgic quality to me that hits harder. It reminds me of one of the worst years in my life and that’s why it’s depressing; some people have that connection I guess. It’s masterfully arranged, it’s emotionally performed and it’s honestly scarring. The vocalist means every word he sings here and boy does it get to you on the repeat listen. Not for the faint of heart, but now we dive deeper.

2. Hurt – Johnny Cash

I think this was an obvious pick for the list. Who’d of known that a cover could be so powerful; it’s the best cover of all time full stop. It’s frighteningly depressing this song and haunting in every way imaginable. It’s like Johnny Cash’s last words have been immortalised in music form; compound that with the music video illustrating his life and his wife beside him, ah it hurts to even talk about. The song has been overused by movies and trailers recently which I find a little sad and disrespectful, but when you listen to this track with no distractions, headphones on, it hits you really, really hard. The lyrics are so fittingly beautiful yet so elegantly morbid. It’s performed with effortless professionalism from Cash and you can tell that every word is being sung directly to his wife. I’d say one of the top ten songs of all time, let alone depressing songs of all time.

1. I Will Follow You Into The Dark – Death Cab For Cutie

This song is unbelievably personal to me, mostly due to the story behind when I first heard the track. I was sat in my room with a drummer and guitarist who I had just jammed with and things were getting late. The jam hadn’t gone so well, I found out I was moving away so I had to depart the group and things just sucked (it was a bad year, let alone day). So just when me and the drummer were chatting finishing off pizza, we hear the other guitarist plucking away on my acoustic in the corner. Then he belts out perhaps the most beautiful live rendition of an acoustic track I’ve ever heard. After the first 10 seconds of the track, me and the drummer were silent just watching and listening… After the performance was done, we stayed silent for another 20 seconds or so. It was surreal, unbelievably surreal. Then I heard the original track in my own time, and I found myself doing the same thing again, just sitting their silent and listening. It’s hypnotic. The lyrics about death and leaving those who you love, had never been so poetic to me. This track took what thousands of years of philosophers had said about death, and meshed it into just over 3 minutes. It’s haunting, it’s genuinely scary, it makes you think things you don’t want to think about. It gets more and more intense, despite the lack of dynamic changes and how the song is kept acoustic/soft. The vocal delivery is so brilliant throughout, that without any changes to the rhythm or texture, you feel different feelings and emotions. I can’t listen to this song any more, I tear up every time I do, so yeah I guess this takes the top spot for most depressing song… Deservedly so.

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